December 6, 2011
America is one of the most obese countries in the world, and the reasons are quite obvious. Just take a look around you. Fast food chains are on every block (unhealthy foods are much less expensive than the healthy foods we should be eating), more and more technology to make our lives easier (and lazier), and high amounts of stress are all factors to weight gain in our country. A recent study in January 2010 shows that obesity rates have reached a constant level and stayed there for the past five years, but still the levels of obesity are still unacceptable. Almost 34 percent of American adults are obese; this number is more than double the amount of 30 years ago. And the percentage of obese children has nearly tripled in that time, to 17 percent. Are we doing enough to bring these numbers down? My opinion, is no. We have alot of changes to make. Obesity is a complex issue, involving many contributing factors. While it is undisputable that individual behavior -- “eating less, exercising more” -- is critical to addressing obesity, government also has an important role to play. From sidewalks to school lunches, government can positively affect people’s behavior when it comes to diet and physical activity.
In the past 40 years, there has been an expansion to more than 160,000 fast-food restaurants in America. These restaurants serve more than 50 million people per day, generating about $65 million in sales annually. These restaurants, such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s, serve pre-cooked, frozen foods, usually thawed out by boiling in hot oil. Only since obesity has become a national epidemic have fast-food restaurants changed their ways. Now, their French fries are fried in vegetable oil, and there are now healthier side options to choose from. But I think we need to do more than just change the kind of oil the French fries are fried in. Maybe we should get rid of French fries all together, and...